Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ending Abortion With the Law of Love

There is a massive movement of evangelists at current to Abolish Human Abortion, not just to outlaw it, but to criminalize it. I agree completely that abortion is murder: those who perform abortions, get abortions, and are accessories to abortion are guilty of murder and should be prosecuted. In fact I wrote a position paper in 2006 anathematizing the USAF's consideration to fund abortions through Tri-Care, and I went so far (to start conversation within the class) as to call for the UCMJ to make abortion a punishable offense under Articles 118, 119, and 133.

But, the legality of abortion is only a symptom of a much greater problem. If abortion were 100% illegal and punishable by death tomorrow, as it should be, the world would only be a little cleaner on the outside, but inside, it would still be filled with every manner of filth and sin. A symptom would be gone, but the root cause, the root corruption would be un-phased.

Consider the abolition of slavery in the United States starting in the early 1800s and culminating in 1863. Now, I am completely against racial slavery (compare: The Doctrine of Slavery), but the abolition movement is not the godsend which it is so often credited with. In fact, I would rather say it has made some things worse, and the abolition of slavery, and the continued farce of the "End-It" movement, do what Peter said of false teachers, "They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption (2 Peter 2:19)."

The abolition of slavery was done by law, it ought to have been perfected with the gospel. I will explain this in a moment. First though, the Bible does not use the word "slave" only for the first century or to be thrown out when our superstitious secularism warrants, "Slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust (1 Peter 2:18)." "Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord (Colossians 3:22)." "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven (Colossians 4:1)." "Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it (1 Corinthians 7:21)." Slavery exists today throughout the world, and nonetheless in America, and will until Christ returns. Slavery was not wrong because it is slavery, but because it was abused, it was racial, it required kidnapping, and many masters were unjust.

Had slavery been perfected by the gospel, then the nation and the world would be in much less bondage than they are today. In a perfect postmillenial world (one that does not exist and will never exist), where the gospel had been preached and believed and obeyed in America, slavery would have ceased to be the stain on the humanitarian history of these United States. Had the gospel been preached, fair treatment of slaves exhorted, and the refusal to partake in purchasing slaves who had been kidnapped or treated like cattle, then the manselling trade and the Middle Passage would have ceased to function. Imagine this, the Hannibal, a slave ship, deemed a pirate ship by an 1808 law prohibiting the importation of slaves, anchors in Mobile Bay with 692 slaves aboard. The average price per slave is $10.50; but Christian slave-owners, seeing the abysmal conditions on board, and finding that not a single slave was willingly indentured, refuse to pay $10.50 else they be in support of this illegal and immoral practice (Similarly, and a complete aside, supporting pornography, even only through your cable-internet bill, enslaves and destroys thousands of young people each year). What would happen next? At the very least the Hannibal would not carry any more slaves to the New World, for there is no profit in it, nor would any other ship. Perhaps the captain of this ship, in order to recoup some cost, would drastically reduce the price of slaves, in which case Christians desiring to show the grace of Christ might buy them to set them free (Compare This Story), or to act as just and fair masters. In either case, the gospel would rectify the slave trade without prohibition and without promising freedom only to deliver greater slavery.

For there are two sets of laws in the world, the worldly prohibiting kind which are rarely obeyed and frequently broken (do not steal, do not drink and drive, do not murder babies), and the heavenly law of love (love your neighbor as yourself). The law of love is so encompassing and perfect that it need not prohibit violence or racism, because if you love someone, you will seek their highest good and ignore superficialities. The law of love demonstrated in slavery would have benefited everyone far more than the Emancipation Proclamation. The law of love is infinitely more capable of ending abortion than any legislation. A mommy who loves God and their baby will not destroy that baby or the image of God being knit together inside of them. A daddy who loves his child will stand up and be a man and honor Christ in protecting life and raising that child in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

An evangelist preaching the gospel indiscriminately to a crowd will (Lord willing) impact the lives of far more people than preaching focused messages at the abortion minded. Instead of fighting the symptom at a murder clinic, gospel preaching ought to start by addressing the root cause, a sinful heart which leads to fornication, disregard for life, and murder. In my ministry towards youth, allow me to boast for a moment, I know that it is more productive to ensure that little girls never need to consider an abortion and to teach them to love and obey Jesus and give them a hope in the Living God, than to try to ward them off at a moment of great despair and hopelessness.

A famous evangelist once compared addiction ministry to a playground near a dangerous cliff. Children regularly fell down the cliff, some were killed and others gravely injured. One response, the addiction ministry response, was to build a hospital at the bottom of the cliff in order to minister to those who had fallen. The other response, the gospel ministry response, was to put a fence and warning signs up to warn of impending danger. Beloved, which works better? The one that ministers to the effect, or the one that ministers to the cause.

The current abortion ministry and abolition movement are treating symptoms of sin, and while they are doing some good, the greatest good is to be done in full time gospel ministry, in treating the wicked heart which brings forth sexual immorality and murder. A girl converted to Christ in middle-school will never consider an abortion. A high-school boy who determines to honor Christ by waiting for his future wife will never pressure someone into taking RU-486 or be an accomplice to the murder of a baby. An abortion doctor who has no patients will have to resort to finding a second job.

It is a commendable thing to be against abortion, and to call it what it is: cold blooded murder. But beloved, just as the abolition of slavery did not abolish slavery, neither will the outlawing of abortion end abortion. The law has a way of awakening our nature to break that law, but Christ is the cure for the rebellion and fallenness of humanity, he alone has the ability to replace a wicked heart with a sanctified heart.

And finally, and probably most harshly, the abolition of slavery has done innumerable damage to the nation, not just to one people-group, but all who are enslaved without knowing their captivity to the devil. Christ came to set the captives free. A person who does not recognize their enslavement does not seek an Emancipator. The outlawing of abortion without a strong gospel presence will condemn many more people than are currently condemned. As harsh as it is to say, a child murdered is guaranteed instant Heaven by their faith in God (Matthew 18:3) and the faithfulness of God (Matthew 18:14). A child who grows up in a pagan culture is condemned by the sins of their fathers. Adrian Rogers once made the excellent point that fixing atrocities without the preaching of the gospel is only, "making the world a nicer place to go to Hell from."

Preaching the gospel faithfully to all men will result in fewer abortions and make famous the name of the One who is able to save to the uttermost all of those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. So beloved, I implore you to focus on the cause of abortion, and not the symptom of abortion, that you minister to lost sinners in your church, in their schools and universities, in the park, at the mall, at festivals. Wherever people may be found, preempt the need for abortion ministry by proclaiming Christ and him crucified.